Sometimes the journeys we make lead us somewhere new, or to a revisioned sense of where we are. In Once Upon a Time in the East, writer and film-maker Xiaolu Guo tracks her life-changing odyssey from 1970s village China to 21st Century London while writer and photographer Vron Ware leaves that latter metropolis to reimagine the English 'rural' in Return of a Native: Learning from the Land.
About Xiaolu Guo
Xiaolu Guo FRSL is a Chinese British novelist, memoirist and filmmaker. She has published several novels include A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, and I Am China. Her memoir Once Upon A Time In The East won the National Book Critics Circle Award 2017 and shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Award, Folio Prize and Costa Award. Her novel A Lover’s Discourse is shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2020. Named as a Granta’s Best of Young British Novelist in 2013, she also directed a dozen films including How Is Your Fish Today (Sundance) and UFO In Her Eyes (TIFF). Her feature She, A Chinese received the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival 2009.
She had her film retrospectives at London’s Whitechapel Gallery 2019, Athens Film Archives 2018, and Cinematheque Switzerland 2011. Radical is her most recent nonfiction (Chatto, 2023). She is currently a visiting professor at Free University in Berlin.
About Vron Ware
Vron Ware is a writer and photographer, based in London. A former academic, she has taught at the University of Greenwich, Yale and Kingston University. Her published work has focused mainly on the politics of gender and race, colonial history, national identity, militarisation, the cultural heritage of war, and ecological thought.
Her most recent book – Return of a Native: Learning from the Land (Repeater Books) – demolishes the fantasy that the English countryside exists as an escape from the mounting crises of modern life (“The perfect book for anyone who has had enough of mournful elegies to England” Patrick Wright).
Her documentary photographs from 1977-1983 have been published in the national media and used in TV documentaries and dramas (Alex Wheatle, Uprising, Ashley Banjo) as well as featuring in exhibitions in Tate Britain, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Goldsmiths University, Broadway Theatre, Catford and the Museum of London.
Images of Xiaolu Guo and Vron Ware